July 27, 2008

At least I wasn’t even close

Filed under: Blog — krkhan @ 4:35 pm

“I think I have a problem with that silver medal.
I think, if I was an Olympic athlete, I would rather come in last then win the silver.
If you think about it… if you win the gold, you feel good.
If you win in the bronze, you think: “Well, at least I got something.”
But if you win that silver, it’s like:
“Congratulations! You… almost won.”
“Of all the losers, you came in first of that group.”
“You’re the number one… loser.”
“No one lost… ahead of you.”” — Jerry Seinfeld

I had two chances for progressing in Code Jam by qualifying in one of the two sub-rounds assigned to me. Both sub-rounds had three problems A, B & C ordered in increasing difficulty level. Here’s a quick summary of both:

  • For the first sub-round (1A), I did solve problem A and got 15 points. However, I didn’t solve it quick enough. Problem B was left untouched by me. Problem C’s small input contained only 29 cases and could have very well been solved using only a scientific calculator. However, that just didn’t seem the right way of progressing (30 points would have been enough to qualify, but I’d definitely have failed at the subsequent rounds).
  • For the second sub-round (1C), apart from connectivity issues, I couldn’t provide correct output for any of the problems. I did solve problem B but as my solution was recursive, it was taking too much time for calculating the output. I’m not that good with refactoring recursive solutions for yielding iterative ones, so my chances got blown right away.

Overall, Code Jam was pretty fun and having fun was the sole aim of participating this year. Now I’ve got to start reading the Introduction to Algorithms book and get myself formally acquainted with algorithmic problem solving. Good luck to all the gurus who did progress (seeing some of them solve all 3 problems within half the time was amazing). They thoroughly deserve it and I’ll keep monitoring later rounds as a spectator — just reading through their ingenuous solutions is nothing short of a delightful experience.

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